Part I: Let’s talk about climate change
It feels like it's what everyone has been talking about lately, and for good reason. David Attenborough’s documentary ‘’A Life on Our Planet’’ showed us once again how beautiful our blue and green marble is, but also that it’s been getting in worse shape over the last decades. For the sake of David, we must protect it at all cost! Still, opinions vary, discussions get heated. So if you’re interested to learn what the hype is all about or if you simply want to refresh your memory on why and how the world is coming to an end (JK, we hope), you’re in the right place. The floor is yours, climate change!
What Is Climate Change, Anyway?
Climate change, more tangibly speaking, refers to a rise in global temperature, precipitation, and rising sea levels. These phenomena, in effect, significantly impact several areas that are essential to human existence - health, agriculture, forests, water resources, coastal areas, biodiversity, to name just a few. Environmental pollution, for instance, causes 4,8 million deaths worldwide and costs 1.1. trillion USD annually (5).
What causes Climate Change?
In 1824, a French mathematician and physicist called Joseph Fourier first suggested that, without our atmosphere, the Earth would be a very frigid place. This is also the time when ‘the greenhouse effect’ was first discovered, referring to gases in the Earth's atmosphere that act kinda like the glass in a greenhouse would: they contain the warmth of the sun and keep it from seeping back into space (2).
Many of these atmospheric gases occur naturally, but by burning fossil fuels, cutting down rainforests, and farming livestock, human activity is increasing the concentrations of some of these gases, in particular:
- carbon dioxide (CO2)
- nitrous oxide
- fluorinated gases
CO2 is the greenhouse gas that’s produced by us humans most, and it is responsible for about 64% of all mankind’s contribution to global warming (14). Its concentration in the atmosphere is currently 40% higher than it was when industrialisation began in the early 19th century.
Other greenhouse gases are being emitted in smaller quantities, but as far as containing heat goes they are in some cases thousands of times stronger than CO2! By the way, methane is responsible for 17% of man-made global warming, nitrous oxide for 6%.
According to Climate Action, a department of the executive branch of the European Union that’s responsible for EU policy on - you guessed it - climate action, these are the main causes for the rising emissions:
- Burning coal, oil and gas produces carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.
- Cutting down forests (deforestation). Trees help to regulate the climate by absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. So when they are cut down, that beneficial effect is lost and the carbon stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere, adding to the greenhouse effect.
- Increasing livestock farming. Cows and sheep produce large amounts of methane when they digest their food. (Methane is responsible for 17% of man-made global warming.)
- Fertilisers containing nitrogen produce nitrous oxide emissions (nitrous oxide is responsible for about 6% of man-made global warming).
- Fluorinated gases produce a very strong warming effect, up to 23 000 times greater than CO2. Thankfully these are released in smaller quantities and are being phased down by EU regulation. (14)
Climate change brainiacs have already made predictions for the future effects of climate change if emissions keep going at the rate they are currently going. Fittingly, these predictions became known as ‘Doomsday Scenarios’. The term refers to possible predictions of events that could lead to human extinction and/or the destruction of all or most life on Earth. Sounds fun, no? Since our headquarters are located in the Netherlands, here is an example of a Doomsday Scenario called “The nation formerly known as the Netherlands'' (8). It raises the question of the Netherlands disappearing below the sea level caused by the warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, leading to the diminished amounts of snow and ice, and the rising sea levels. The scenario concludes that if we keep burning fossil fuels indefinitely, global warming will eventually melt all the ice at the poles and on mountaintops, raising sea level by 18 metres (9). If this becomes the case we will create an ice-free planet with an average temperature of 26 degrees Celsius instead of the current 14 degrees. In this scenario, the Jimmy Joy Headquarters would be an underwater one.
So how long do we have?
Currently, the average global temperature is 0.85ºC higher than it was in the late 19th century, with each of the past three decades being warmer than the decade before. The world's top scientists agree that human activities almost certainly play the biggest part in these rising temperatures.
We don’t want to freak you out, but according to the latest studies, we only have about 7 years, 39 days, and 3 hours left* until the damage is beyond repair. If emissions keep going at the rate they are going, that’s when we’ll have burned through our ‘carbon budget’ - the amount of CO2 the atmosphere can absorb without the global temperature rising to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. An increase of 2°C compared to the temperature in pre-industrial times is seen by scientists as the point of no return, after which the risk of possibly catastrophic changes in the global environment will have increased dramatically. This is why it’s been widely recognised it’s vital to keep warming below 2°C.
*This article was written on November 23rd, 2020, 10am
You can follow the climate change clock live here. The climate countdown clock has been installed in 150 cities around the world (including New York, Oslo, and Berlin) to remind people of the world’s most important deadline.
Slowing down the effects of the global crisis and ultimately changing its course depends on the collective action of every single country and every single individual. Every effort matters! To reach the Paris Agreement goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, a lot still has to be done, but fortunately there are ways to flatten the curve.
What are WE doing?
Look, let’s be honest: an underwater headquarters seems cool and we’re already talking to recruiting agencies in Atlantis. But when push comes to shove we’d rather not remodel our entire business to get an underwater office up and running. Sorry, Aquaman. So here’s what we’re doing to help flatten the curve and hopefully prevent from the ocean reaching our doors:
Carbon footprint → In the recent months we have made a few transitions to more local suppliers. That is, regarding all the ingredients for which it is feasible to be sourced locally. For instance, as one of our main ingredients, our oats are sources from Sweden, which is known for the highest quality oats and which spares us the long distances of transporting the ingredient. But because the quality is so important to us, for example, mangos cannot be
sustainably grown in Europe throughout the year, so we still source the mango flavour from Brazil. Even though that is the case, we are proud to say that we offset all our carbon emissions by planting trees together with Trees4All. The shipment carriers we use already offset their own carbon emissions, and we do it in addition. So, all our transport emissions are double offset!
Deterioration of ecological systems and loss of biodiversity → All of our products are 100% vegan and for our latest formula of Plenny Shake Active we added ahiflower. We already had plant-based omega before the ahiflower, but what makes the ahiflower extra special is that it contains SDA, which the body absorbs better than ALA (which most plant-based oils have.) Plus, did you know about 25 million tonnes of wild fish are harvested and processed into oil every year? If, like us, other companies would use this natural, plant-based source of omega 3, 6, and 9 instead of fish, that would also reduce pressure on wild marine stocks in the oceans and help to restore the ocean’s abundance!
Community → in 2019, we decided to take Black Friday as an opportunity to do something good for the planet. For every order placed during Black Friday/Cyber Monday, we planted a tree. With your help, we successfully managed to plant 1522 trees! That’s a small Jimmy Joy forest.
In 2020 however, we supported a cause that was more local. Besides offering a discount on our products, we donated 5 meals for each order we received to the local food bank! For an entire week! Plus, we support the Red Cross as well.
Food waste → Research shows that approximately 10 percent of U.S. energy use goes into growing, processing, packaging, and shipping food — 40 percent of which is then wasted and tends to end up in a landfill. Since livestock products are among the most resource-intensive to produce, eating meat-free meals can make a big difference, too. This is where Jimmy Joy comes in: our nutritionally complete meals have a shelf life of 12 months and are completely meat-free. So no more food waste!
Use of plastic → According to National Geographic, In 2016, the U.S. released the equivalent of 12 million tons of carbon dioxide by incinerating waste, more than half of which came from plastics. So less plastic waste = less CO2 emission! With that in mind we’re planning to make our packaging labelled #2 recyclable plastic, which will make it very easy to recycle (we will keep you updated on more details about that).
5 Easy Things you can do EVERY DAY!
Changing the course of history is rarely a one-person job, but with all the information out there can be rather overwhelming if you’re trying to figure out what it is you can do to help. But if you want to help out the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke, here’s what you can do to help on a daily basis, according to the NRDC:
1. Don’t waste food and eat less meat
We mentioned it already, but there’s a lot of energy (10% of the total US energy use) going into growing, processing, packaging, and shipping food - of which 40% ends up as waste! And since livestock products are among the most resource-intensive to produce, eating meat-free meals can make a big difference, too. So check out our nutritionally complete meals that not only have a shelf life of 12 months but are also vegan!
2. Speak up!
The easiest way and perhaps the most important way to make an impact is to voice your concerns. Talk to your friends, family, colleagues, or even to your local government officials. Let your concerns be heard and encourage others to take the issue seriously!
3. Reduce water waste
It takes a lot of energy to pump, heat, and treat water, so using less will reduce carbon pollution, too. So take shorter showers, turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, and maybe even switch to special water-efficient faucets and shower heads. The EPA estimates that if just one out of every 100 (American) homes would use water-efficient fixtures, about 100 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year would be saved—avoiding 80,000 tons of global warming pollution. (16)
4. Buy better bulbs
LED lightbulbs use up to 80 percent less energy than conventional bulbs. They’re also cheaper: A 10-watt LED that replaces your traditional 60-watt bulb will save you $125 over the lightbulb’s life! (15)
5. Pull the plug
No no, step away from grandma’s breathing machine. We mean the outlets in your home! Audio and video devices, cordless vacuums, power tools, and other electronics use energy even when they're not charging. This "idle load" really adds up, so don't leave fully charged devices plugged into your home's outlets, unplug rarely used devices or plug them into power strips and timers, and adjust your computers and monitors to automatically power down to the lowest power mode when not in use.
- IPCC. 2014. Climate change 2014: synthesis report – summary for policy makers. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- Le Treut, H., R. Somerville, U. Cubasch, Y. Ding, C. Mauritzen, A. Mokssit, T. Peterson and M. Prather, 2007: Historical Overview of Climate Change. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- Roberts, D. (2019, November 5). Vox. Retrieved from The Paris climate agreement is at risk of falling apart in the 2020s: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/11/5/20947289/paris-climate-agreement-2020s-breakdown-trump.
- Global Carbon Budget - Friedlingstein et al. (2019),Earth System Science Data, 11, 1783-1838, 2019, DOI: 10.5194/essd-11-1783-2019.
- IPCC 2018. Climate change 2018: special report – Global warming of 1.5°C. Summary for policymakers. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- Griskevicius, V., Cantú, S. M., & van Vugt, M. 2012. The evolutionary bases for sustainable behavior: implications for marketing, policy and social entrepreneurship. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 31(1): 115-128.
- Pauleit, S., Zölch, T., Hansen, R., Randrup, T. B., & van den Bosch, C. K. (2017). Nature-based solutions and climate change–four shades of green. In Nature-Based Solutions to Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Areas (pp. 29-49). Springer, Cham.
- Conway, E. M., & Oreskes, N. (2014). The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future. Columbia University.
- Cohen, D. K. (2019, March 26). Sea levels are rising and we don’t have a Plan B. Retrieved from University of Utrecht: https://www.uu.nl/en/news/rising%20sea%20levels%20no%20Plan%20B
- Falham’s Street Mental Model, The Tragedy of the Commons, https://fs.blog/2011/08/the-tragedy-of-the-commons/
- S. Hill. 2020. A post-pandemic research agenda. LSE Impact Blog. Available here: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2020/06/30/a-post-pandemic-research-agenda/
- Rockström, J., Steffen, W., Noone, K. et al. A safe operating space for humanity. Nature 461, 472–475 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/461472a
- Davis, E. (2018). WWF Report Reveals Staggering Extent of Human Impact on Planet. Retrieved from WWF: https://www.worldwildlife.org/press-releases/wwf-report-reveals-staggering-extent-of-human-impact-on-planet